Bentall memorial moves online to honour fallen workers

Journal of Commerce | DCN-JOC News Services | January 6, 2021

VANCOUVER, B.C. – BC Building Trades Council’s annual memorial to remember those killed in the Bentall Tower IV tragedy is going digital.

“It’s the 40th anniversary of the Bentall Tower IV construction tragedy, and while COVID-19 prevents us from coming together to honour the lives of the four construction workers who lost their lives in this tragedy, the BC Building Trades will honour these workers and their families with a special virtual ceremony and video premiere,” read a release from the group.

On Jan. 7, 1981, four men went to work on the tower in Vancouver’s downtown core.

Gunther Couvreux, Brian Stevenson, Donald Davis and Yrjo Mitrunen fell 36 floors to their deaths when the fly form they were standing on collapsed.

The event will take place Jan. 7 at noon. Online attendees can visit this link to view event videos: https://video.ibm.com/channel/J4mpecTq8sC

The ceremony will feature messages from labour, industry and government. In addition, family members of the fallen construction workers will also participate, including Peter Mitrunen, son of Yrjo Mitrunen, and Bruce and Dianne Stevenson, brother and sister-in-law of Brian Stevenson.

In the years since the Bentall tragedy, more than 1,000 construction workers have died in B.C. due to workplace trauma or disease. So far this year, there have been 30 work-related deaths in the construction industry in B.C. Of those, 11 were due to traumatic injury while 19 were due to disease.